State prosecutors stated in court that the opposition leadership’s anti-corruption foundations were jailed, the network of regional offices were ‘extremist’ groups.
State prosecutors in Russia have asked a court to label groups linked to imprisoned opposition leader Alexey Navalny as “extremist organizations”, a move that would ban them and cause The activist is serving a long prison sentence.
Friday’s move, if passed, would mark one of the authorities’ most serious moves towards a network of groups formed by the stern critic of President Vladimir Putin, who is currently went on a hunger strike while imprisoned for two and a half years. period.
Russia’s list of “extremist organizations” currently includes 33 entities, including the armed group ISIL (ISIS), the Taliban, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. The presence of these groups is forbidden in Russia and their participation in them can lead to lengthy prison sentences.
Those caught in the act of organizing activities of such groups can be imprisoned for up to 10 years, those involved in them may be subject to criminal liability and the groups themselves are prohibited from joining of any kind. any banking activities.
Moscow state prosecutors said they decided to appeal to the court after studying Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Fund and the lobbying groups he had set up in regions across the country.
The prosecutor said in a statement: “Under the guise of the slogan of freedom, these organizations are engaged in the formation of conditions for social instability and social politics,” the prosecutor said. said in a statement.
It said: “Effectively, their operational goal is to create the conditions for altering the basis of the constitutional order, including the use of the ‘color revolution’ scenario.
As a blunt critic of Putin for many years, Navalny has staged nationwide street protests and impressed online with investigations of alleged corruption by senior Russian officials. .
The 44-year-old man, who was banned from running against Putin in 2018, was jailed in February for parole violations he said had been concealed.
Navalny was arrested at the border when he returned to Russia from Germany, where he was recovering from nerve poisoning.
Most of his most prominent allies abroad or in Russia have faced alleged violations in connection with a series of protests organized to protest his arrest.
On Friday alone, a court sentenced a cameraman to work for Navalny’s group of activists two years in prison for inciting “extremism”.
The accusation involved an anti-government tweet he wrote following the self-immolation incident of a Russian journalist.
Navalny’s allies promise to continue their work.
“Putin has just announced a comprehensive series of political repression in Russia,” Navalny’s chief aide and head of regional network, Leonid Volkov, tweeted shortly after the prosecutors’ announcement.
In a statement on Facebook, Volkov and FBK director Ivan Zhdanov said they had no doubts about the ruling “Putin’s court” would take but said they would continue their work “peacefully. , open and efficient “.